Sir Rufino, a Master teacher, at Tanauan high school explains what the current teaching set-up is like and how the ‘'new normal’’ of learning is for his students.
'In the past weeks, I have been conducting home visits to see what is really happening with our students; based on what I saw and heard, most of the students are slowly accepting and adjusting to the new modality of learning, but it isn’t easy ’' he says. ''With the current situation, students are not really learning. Unlike the learning set-up before COVID-19, where the teacher is there to directly aid learning of each of the students, they just read their modules and answer the questions'', Sir Rufino explains.
He decided as a result of his initial visits and interviews with his students that he will set more time aside for home visitation to assist and monitor his learners and also check on the parents. In the area where Sir Rufino teaches, households exist out of large families. ‘'I have one student who has 4 siblings, whose mother needs to support and guide them all when studying. Her children are now in Grades 1, 3, 7 and 9. Since the new learning set-up she spends most of her time making sure that her children are able to answer their modules and sometimes end up setting aside the household chores.’'
Homeschooling has a big effect on parents' lives and is difficult for them. One of the concerns most families in his area have is that some parents can’t read as they haven’t been able to attend school themselves. ‘'Parents want to help their children finish their studies but with the current situation, they can’t help but worry’’, he explains.
Sir Rufino proposed a Community Learning Hub to the Mayor, having these hubs will give more learning time and teachers are able to support students with struggles they face, at the same time, some burden will be lessened on their parents. The biggest problems for teachers at the moment is lack of aid. Not only is there not enough funding to print all the modulars, but all workload is put on teachers as well. Next to printing the materials, reviewing the modulars and conducting home visits, teachers also have to worry about the distribution of the modulars and reviewing everything that is given to them. ‘’If the Community Learning Hubs would be approved the workload of teachers will be lessened and we can have more time to revisit the contents of the modules ‘’, he says.
The new way of teaching is taking a toll on teachers' lives. A lot of teachers are stuck in a position where they want to help their students to provide quality education, but it is affecting their own lives. ''I know teachers who even use money from their own pocket just to buy bond paper and ink for the printer just so they are able to produce these modules. Even their budget for food gets affected because they prioritised these modules for their students. And that is not all, teachers are exhausted mentally as physically - but they all continue for the sake of the students.”
He really hopes that there soon will be a proper solution for the current learning system. ‘'It is important that teachers, parents, students and the LGU will help each other in improving the way things are based on the gathered feedback because these are really happening and we can’t continue doing those that don’t work well ‘’, he expresses.
'Teachers are just like medical professionals, our front liners. Our patients are our students and each student we need to provide with an appropriate treatment.’’ - Sir Rufino.